Review

The Last Witness

by K.J. Erickson



In the genre of police procedurals many writers have attached
themselves to one detective whose career provides the basis for a
continuing series of novels. Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, Ed
McBain's Steve Carella, Stuart Kaminsky's Abe Lieberman, and Robert
Parker's Spenser are current examples of detectives who never seem
to age and whose careers are limited only by the imagination of
their creators. These detectives share many traits. They are
admired and respected iconoclasts, driven by a sense of justice
that is coupled with integrity. Quite simply, they are characters
that have earned the respect and admiration of their readers. Their
authors have created protagonists that we care about.

Minneapolis police detective Marshall "Mars" Bahr has the potential
to join the detectives previously mentioned. He makes his third
appearance in KJ Erickson's THE LAST WITNESS, a mystery that
demonstrates that Bahr has the potential for a long-running career
and many future appearances in Erickson's novels. Mars Bahr is on
the final days of his assignment as a Minneapolis homicide
detective. He will soon be transferred into a new division assigned
to solve "cold" murder cases. But before the transfer, Mars is left
with one final case, the type of case that both fictional and
actual detectives dream about --- the big celebrity homicide.

Bahr is a rugged individualist detective with admirable and unique
qualities. Recently divorced, he is devoted to his eleven-year-old
son Chris. Unlike most non-custodial parents, but like most rugged
individualist detectives, Mars willingly pays large amounts of
child support and provides for all of Chris' extracurricular needs.
The relationship between Mars and his son faces several tests
during the course of THE LAST WITNESS. How Mars confronts these
challenges establishes him as an outstanding father in addition to
being an accomplished detective.

Tayron "T-Jack" Jackman is the star point guard of the Minnesota
Timberwolves. He is also the prime suspect in the murder of his
wife. THE LAST WITNESS is not really a mystery in the sense of
determining who killed Terri DuCain Jackman; Bahr has no doubt that
T-Jack is the killer. The mystery is how he was able to murder his
wife when he appears to have a rock solid alibi, one that is even
supported by his wife's parents. At the time of Terri's death,
T-Jack was with his wife's parents and her attorney hashing out the
final details of a divorce settlement. It was to be a lucrative
settlement, large enough to eliminate a motive for murder.

Working against a time limit created by his transfer, Mars is
relentless in pursuing each lead. Along with his partner, Nettie
Frisch, it is obvious that Mars will not stop until justice is done
for Terri Jackman and her family. Each twist in the investigation
and each new discovery keep the pages of this intricate mystery
turning at a rapid rate. Erickson keeps the reader guessing, but
in

Mars Bahr's new assignment is with a newly created state agency
that will investigate old, unsolved homicides. It is the perfect
job for a detective of his inimitable talents. It is equally ideal
for a writer of KJ Erickson's ability. We can look forward to many
more Mars Bahr investigations.

Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on January 22, 2011

The Last Witness
by K.J. Erickson

  • Publication Date: May 15, 2003
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 031231468X
  • ISBN-13: 9780312314682